Gothic Metal

aka: Goth Metal
Primary Stylistic Influences:

Secondary Stylistic Influences:

Gothic metal is, naturally, a subgenre of heavy metal. It sounds dark, like gothic rock; it's got the sonic amplitude of metal; and it's depressing, like Doom Metal. Many of the bands have female vocalists; many also use the classic Soprano and Gravel trick. There are few bands that have never used either, though there are some that have a male vocalist as the frontman.

Gothic metal has its roots in death/doom, which is, as the name implies, Death Metal mixed with Doom Metal. The Peaceville Three, who served as the Trope Codifiers for death/doom, gradually incorporated several traits into their music (some traits being brought in from Gothic Rock) that would shape the genre; keyboards, violins (in the case of My Dying Bride), female vocals, and deeper (often bass-baritone) vocals. Around the same time as the Peaceville Three, the American Type O Negative, coming from a slightly different musical background (ie. not death/doom), started incorporating traits from gothic rock into their music also; to this day, it's unclear whether Type O Negative or the Peaceville Three did it first, but it's generally agreed to be one of those four bands that kickstarted the genre.

It is hugely popular in Europe, especially Scandinavia, where many of the bands are from. Possibly as a result of its popularity, and the stigma brought on by the false idea that "gothic metal = metal for goths", many bands have fought against being categorised as gothic metal, though it doesn't have the same stigma as other names would. In addition to this, there are also countless arguments as to which bands actually count as gothic metal, due to the rather vague definition of what gothic metal is. Expect there to be arguments should you refer to Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, Nightwish, Epica or HIM as part of this genre.

Examples of bands associated with the gothic metal genre:

Gothic metal displays the following tropes:

  • Genre Shift - Gothic metal bands are renowned for doing this. The genre itself was created thanks to several death/doom bands doing this. Several goth metal bands then moved into other genres - Paradise Lost and Theatre of Tragedy into electronic rock, Anathema and The Gathering into alternative/progressive rock, Tiamat into some strange brand of experimental goth rock, Lacuna Coil into Alternative Metal... the list goes on and on.
  • Internet Backdraft - The debate over whether certain bands belong to the genre or not. The most commonly-debated bands are probably Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, After Forever, Epica, HIM, Nightwish and The Gathering.
  • Narm - Some bands in the genre have been known to cause this.
  • Soprano and Gravel - There are very few bands that have not played with this technique at some point in their career. The genre was also responsible for popularising the technique in metal, resulting in it becoming a cliche.
  • Tear Jerker - Sometimes the music can get pretty depressing.
  • Trope Codifier - Theatre of Tragedy, and to a lesser degree Tiamat and The Gathering.
  • Trope Maker - The Peaceville Three (especially Paradise Lost) and Type O Negative.
  • Trope Namer - Paradise Lost's Gothic album.

Alternative Title(s):

Goth Metal